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October 21, 2014

Parnell Tells Jewell, “Call my people.”

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell has earned himself a reputation for not being very assertive, a bit of a pushover if you will. Typically, this criticism comes from the governor’s own party. Even Alaska’s lone Congressman has referred to him as a “zero” on more than one occasion. That, coupled with the fact that it is totally en vogue to bash every facet of the federal government, might explain Governor Parnell’s latest bout of nastygrams sent to federal agencies.

Last week, the day prior to the end of the federal government shutdown, Governor Parnell sent Interior Secretary Sally Jewell a letter. The letter, dated October 15, informed Secretary Jewell that, unless she opened federal refuge lands in Alaska “by the close of business Alaska time on Tuesday, October 15,” the State of Alaska would “file a complaint for injunctive relief and request an immediate Temporary Restraining Order from a federal court judge.”

Yes, the Governor gave Secretary Jewell until the end of the same day he sent her the letter.

Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell.

Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell.

Alaskans know that mail and shipments take a little bit longer to get to and from here, compared to the rest of America. For some reason, however, Governor Parnell not only expects a letter to travel across the entire continent and arrive on Secretary Jewell’s desk within the same day, he also expects her to take action on said letter that same day. Maybe Parnell felt he was being generous by giving her until the end of day Alaska time, effectively providing her an extra four hours to meet his demands due to the difference in time zones.

Let’s dig into the letter a little bit:

Dear Secretary Jewell,

This follows my letters to you dated October 4 and October 11, 2013, urging you repeatedly to open up federal refuges in Alaska so as to ameliorate the significant and adverse fiscal impact on our guides and support businesses during the short hunting season.

Yes, he’s been writing her a lot of letters lately. I wonder if he might have a bit of a crush on the Secretary.

Last week you offered to have the State of Alaska pay the entire operational costs of the refuges in order for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to reopen these lands to Alaskans and visitors. While I did express reservations about the need to pay the entire costs, I nonetheless had my staff contact your office to see what those cost estimates would be. As of today, we have heard nothing back.

Hmm… I wonder why federal employees haven’t gotten back to the Governor with that information he requested. Could it be the fact that the federal government was shut down at the time?

Besides closing of the refuges to members of the public and visitors to the State, USFWS has also announced that the State wildlife managers are barred from doing their normal research and management functions.

Secretary Jewell, you have visited Alaska; you understand the vast size of this state, and the fact that a decision by federal land managers to shut down federal refuges has a disproportionate impact in our state. Supervision of these areas is not labor intensive, and all we ask is that outfitters and guides – who already possess the requisite permits and certifications, – and who have already paid for these permits – be allowed to conduct their normal activities in federal refuges and that Alaskans be allowed to participate in the state managed hunts that take place on federal lands.

Holy punctuation, Batman! Did you just use two parenthetical dashes back-to-back in the same sentence? Sure, the dash is one of the least regulated marks in the world of punctuation, but please use some discretion before you ruin it for the rest of us. Blatant misuse like this is what causes new regulations to be created!

This is a zero-cost option that is consistent with the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) other federal land management decisions in response to the shutdown, including the most recent announcement allowing public access to Waterfowl Production Areas.

It was my sincere hope that we could avoid recourse through the courts. However, DOI’s position leaves us little choice.Unless USFWS reverses its shutdown of the federal refuges by the close of business Alaska time on Tuesday, October 15, Alaska will file a complaint for injunctive relief and request an immediate Temporary Restraining Order from a federal court judge here in Anchorage. [Emphasis the governor’s, not mine.]

Oh snap! Throwing down the gauntlet.

wrestler gif

I respectfully request your reconsideration. With everything else that is going on, litigation between our respective principals should be avoided.

Well, if the Governor really wanted to avoid litigation, he should have sent her a time machine along with the letter containing his impossible demands. I get the feeling that he doesn’t actually mean this statement; after all, he’s no stranger to filing lawsuits against the federal government.

However, the financial impact and inconvenience to Alaskans can no longer be ignored, and we will seek to reopen these refuges based on the USFWS’ failure to follow its own closure regulations and other inconsistent positions adopted by DOI which have been repeatedly brought to your attention.

Thank you for your consideration. Please feel free to contact me through my Scheduler, Janice Mason, at 907-465-3986.

Sean Parnell
Governor

This is by far my favorite part of the letter. Rather than end it with something like, “here’s my personal cell phone number; call me anytime, day or night, and let’s come up with a solution to this problem,” he tells the Secretary to contact his “Scheduler.” This isn’t even one of those, “have your people contact my people;” this is a “you contact my people.”  So much for choosing respect.

All that said, perhaps those of us who were lamenting the shutdown of the federal government owe Governor Parnell our gratitude. After all, this was the same night Congress finally passed a bill to re-open the government. It just might have been the Governor’s stern polemic that put an end to the impasse.

[This article is cross-posted at I Eat Gravel.]

Comments

comments

Comments
15 Responses to “Parnell Tells Jewell, “Call my people.””
  1. benlomond2 says:

    According to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, 65 percent of Alaska is federal land. Specifically, 16 percent of Alaskan land is public domain, 6 percent is National Petroleum Reserve, 1 percent is National Conservation and Recreational Areas, and 1 percent is classified as “other.” National parks, forests and refuges account for the remaining 40 percent.

    When he can actually govern the 35% of Alaska successfully, let us know, maybe he’d be worth listening to then

    • Homeland says:

      According to archeology – the Natives owned Alaska 10,000 years ago…so when that birthright owner legality gets straightened out in international courts…poor parnell will be whaling with palin on the sideline!

  2. juneaudream says:

    That video bit..oh my goodgosh..a gem. Can you imagine the sweat on parnell..rolling down his armpits..as he worked up..a lather of passion..such..as that? The facial tensions..the eyeballs..and..as he skims through this website..as he will always do..he cannot..cause it to ..run and hide. He will sit..steaming..in his vulture-branchlet..of choice. My heart and soul..do not bleed for him..but..if he were to..start engaging with..the Real World..he could avoid..the coming..interventions..that will..roll his way..as he ages..and hunkers down..and the young-educateds..rise..around him.

  3. beth. says:

    Oh, Alaska, you’ve certainly got a real gem in that there Governor Parnell of yours, haven’t you; yessiree Bob, you sure do! Don’t it just make you feel so proud?

    And speaking of gems and pride and Alaska’s governors, I’m rather surprised your immediate-previous governor wasn’t at the entrance to any federal lands in AK, spouting how shamed Obama should be for playing politics with people’s public places and demanding he immediately open them up! I’d have thought that’d surely be right up her alley. Promoting Alassska and getting a personal dig in at Obama all in one fell swoop — how could she resist? What, not enough chained-together barricades blocking egress for her to photo-op with? No veterans for her to schmooze at with her played-out patriotic platitudes in an extended photo-op?

    Oops, my bad –.not enough lame-stream media up there to film her. beth.

    • Carol says:

      Beth, You figured it out. Not enough media here in Alaska for the Half Term Quitty Pants on Fire.
      She was in DC with Cruz for that circus show.
      Parnell did this as a campaign stunt, gotta prove his bonafides as a federal government fighter. His letter shows an astonishing amount of ignorance and since I didn’t pay alot of attention to it when it came out, Thank You, Mudflats, for pointing out the timing. But those who will vote for him will ignore the timing and the irrevalence in that the govt was shut down by the (R) and just drool over the fact that this governor is fighting the feds.

      • mike from iowa says:

        Parnell is fighting the Feds figuratively. If it was a real fight,he would literally crap his britches like Theodore Nugent and run the other way,quickly and in a hurry faster.

  4. mike from iowa says:

    So if you are not a registered guide,hunter or out of state hunter,you are not rill Alaskan? I didn’t hear any concern for subsistence hunters. Jewell should have sent him an email at five o’clock Eastern Time telling Parnell to kiss her ass by the end of the working day in D.C.

  5. slipstream says:

    Oh, those daffy Republicans. Close down the federal government, then complain because the federal government is closed. You gotta love ‘em.

    Reading through Parnell’s threat to hold his breath until he was blue in the face, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:11:

    “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

    “When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

    The good governor seems not to have reached that second stage yet.

  6. slipstream says:

    Oh, those daffy Republicans. Close down the federal government, then complain because the federal government is closed. You gotta love ‘em.

    Reading through Parnell’s threat to hold his breath until he was blue in the face, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:11:

    “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

    “When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

    The good governor seems not to have reached that second stage yet.

  7. akbright says:

    I just heard on the radio this evening about a bill regarding our National Parks. It is a creation of Rep. Don Young, This bill would let states assume management of national parks.

    “The bill is very simple: If a state or an entity of recognition, like a Native Corp, could in fact apply to take over a park, and manage it as a park, they could not be denied. They’d have to be issued a permit,” he said.

    Though, I don’t think it has any other sponsors to it yet.

  8. Zyxomma says:

    I like being able to post here, so I’m not going to say what I really think. Parnell has doo-doo for brains. And a heart smaller than that of the Grinch before his encounter with the Whos down in Whoville.

    Elections have consequences. Mobilize voters statewide, and vote this Zero out of office, ASAP.

  9. John says:

    The Govenor writes a stern letter and within mere hours the Federal Government is back at work. I have no doubt we have Parnell to thank for breaking that gridlock. And also, it is a good thing, too. Without the Feds at work, who would he rail against?

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Governor Torpedo is prolly ticked he didn’t get to throw another tantrum in court in our name.

      So, “… the financial impact and inconvenience to Alaskans can no longer be ignored…”, eh, Gov ?

      Please provide the letter you wrote to the House Republicans demanding an end to the financial impact and “inconvenience” their stoopid brinkmanship games brought down on Alaskans, okay?
      Did you threaten to sue those smart alecks too?
      Now, THAT would be a tilt-at-windmills suit at (the right part of) the Fed I could get behind…

      So- anyone know how many outfitters and guides lost 2 weeks of work through the shutdown?
      Anywhere near the thousands of furloughed federal workers?
      The immediate economic impact of which was felt by other Alaskans who work businesses seriously affected by federally employed folks who normally, shop, eat, buy fuel, and the like …

      Shove it Gov.
      Cry me a river.

  10. Blue_in_AK says:

    Little weasel thinks he’s so damned important.

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